Thursday, August 6, 2020

Coastie Crew Receives Prestigious National Honors for Daring Rescue (with Video)

Posted By on Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 8:02 PM

click to enlarge Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay crew members Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Cook, an aviation maintenance technician, Lt.j.g. Adam Ownbey, a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot, Petty Officer 1st Class Graham McGinnis, an aviation survival technician, Cmdr. Derek Schramel, a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot, stand for a photo. - COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS TAYLOR BACON
  • Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Taylor Bacon
  • Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay crew members Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Cook, an aviation maintenance technician, Lt.j.g. Adam Ownbey, a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot, Petty Officer 1st Class Graham McGinnis, an aviation survival technician, Cmdr. Derek Schramel, a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot, stand for a photo.
A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Sector Humboldt Bay received prestigious national honors today for their daring rescue of two injured firefighters during last year’s Middle Fire.

Cmdr. Derek Schramel, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot, and Petty Officer 1st Class Graham McGinnis, an aviation survival technician, received Distinguished Flying Crosses from Rear Adm. Brian Penoyer and Lt.j.g. Adam Ownbey, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Cook, an aviation maintenance technician, were presented Air Medals during an official ceremony.

“It was just the best example of what we aspire to in naval aviation, in Coast Guard rescuing and in lifesaving operation,” Penoye said.

Read the full USCG release below:
MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. — Rear Adm. Brian Penoyer, the Eleventh Coast Guard District commander, presented Distinguished Flying Crosses to Cmdr. Derek Schramel, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot, and Petty Officer 1st Class Graham McGinnis, an aviation survival technician, and Air Medals to Lt.j.g. Adam Ownbey, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Cook, an aviation maintenance technician, during an official ceremony, Thursday, at Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay in McKinleyville.

The aircrew was presented the awards for rescuing two injured firefighters who were unable to evacuate from a mountainside that was engulfed in flames during the Sept. 6, 2019, Middle Fire.

“It was just the best example of what we aspire to in naval aviation, in Coast Guard rescuing and in lifesaving operations.” said Penoyer.

The Distinguished Flying Cross is the nation's highest award for extraordinary aerial achievement. As a valor decoration, it is awarded to recipients for heroism while participating in an aerial flight.

The Air Medal is a prestigious award that is presented to an Armed Forces member who has distinguished themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement in aerial flight during the rescue of survivors.

According to the award citation, "the flight crew's outstanding airmanship and devotion to duty reflect great credit upon themselves and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard."
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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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